The story of East African Playgrounds 

In 2008, Tom Gill and Carla Powell were studying at the University of Leeds. They had both spent time in East Africa working with charities and NGOs, and during their time there had realised that there were three issues that were not only close to their hearts but also that they had the experience, skill sets and drive to tackle. Firstly, there was a huge lack of safe, fun and exciting playgrounds for children to play on. Secondly there was a lack of opportunities for young adults to gain training and employment. There were also far too many volunteer companies charging young volunteers huge sums of money for volunteering projects and actually having a negative impact on the communities they were supposed to be helping.

During the next year Tom and Carla spent time researching play, playgrounds and how to set up and run a successful charity. In 2009 East African Playgrounds was formed, and the first playground in Uganda was built through our first volunteering project. The first year was a huge challenge for Tom and Carla as they both juggled their studies, part-time night shifts and setting up and running the charity. By the end of the first year they had learnt more than they thought possible, had developed a fantastic trustee board for East African Playgrounds in the UK and had a very clear goal for the next 3 years. 

Through Tom and Carla's final years of university they developed East African Playgrounds' Uganda Volunteering Project to fund the development of a Ugandan playground building team, a workshop and 19 playgrounds. During this period, East African Playgrounds' building methods and community consultation process were also developed, to ensure that playgrounds were custom designed for each community and the children who would use them.  

The journey continued from there, each day the charity growing that bit more.

Check out the video from the first ever East African Playgrounds build!

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